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Sunday, September 6, 2009

Scottish Bagpipes and Dancing - Part 2

Early history of the Bagpipes
In fact, the earliest recorded reference to bagpipes is on a Hittite slab from Asia Minor which has been dated to 1000 BC while by the 1st century AD, bagpipes existed in many countries from India to Spain and from France to Egypt. It's also clear that bagpipes were popular throughout the rest of the British isles prior to their documented appearance north of the border. When, and how, they did first appear in Scotland is a hotly contested topic with competing theories claiming they were either a Roman import or that the instrument came from Ireland.

Little drummer boy.
Components and styles of pipe
In whichever country it developed, the basic bagpipe comprised the same elements: a bag with a chanter (on which the melody was played) and one or more drones (pipes which play a continuous note).
Some examples were mouth-blown while others used a bellows attachment to supply the air to the bag. The bag provided a sustained tone while the musician took a breath and allowed several tones to be played at once.
A Scotchman with a cowboy hat?? What next?
Sporrans come in a very wide range of styles, from simple leather sporrans to those with fur fronts or fur-trimmed and faced with silver or some other metal. Often, the kilt wearer will chose a type of sporran depending on the occasion, with the more elaborate ones being considered suitable for evening wear and the others for casual or all-purpose wear.
Old Mister Sourpuss himself.
The original Scottish pipes probably had, at the most, a single drone. The second drone was added to the pipes in the mid to late 1500s while the third, or great drone, came into use early in the 1700s.
This little girl did not seem to be enjoying herself.

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